Kristoffer Ajer eyes starting spot for Celtic against Lincoln Red Imps

Kristoffer Ajer in action against Wolfsburg at Celtic Park
Image: Kristoffer Ajer signed four-year deal under former boss Ronny Deila

Kristoffer Ajer threw his hat in the ring for a starting place at Celtic this season following the 2-1 friendly win over Wolfsburg on Saturday.

The 18-year-old agreed a four-year deal in February while playing for Start in Norway but did not arrive until June by which time his fellow Norwegian Ronny Deila had been replaced as manager by Brendan Rodgers.

Kristoffer Ajer was involved in the pre-season friendly against Celje
Image: Kristoffer Ajer was involved in the pre-season friendly against Celje in Slovenia

Ajer, who can play in defence or midfield, came off the bench in the first half at Celtic Park to replace Erik Sviatchenko after the Danish defender had sustained a head knock in a clash with visiting keeper Diego Benaglio.

After a nervy start in his home debut with Celtic a goal down to a deflected strike by Wolfsburg defender Paul Seguin, he settled down, eventually being named man of the match after goals from Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie gave Rodgers victory in his first home match.

Sviatchenko should be back for the second leg of the Champions League second qualifier against Lincoln Red Imps on Wednesday night, when the Scottish champions look to recover from a shock 1-0 defeat in Gibraltar last Tuesday.

Celtic's Erik Sviatchenko goes off injured
Image: Ajer entered fray after injury to Erik Sviatchenko against Wolfsburg

Ajer is ready if called upon, although defence rather than midfield - an area where Rodgers joked about having 20 players from which to choose - could be his best bet.

He said: "I came to Celtic to play and if he gives me the opportunity I am ready.

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"There are a lot of midfielders and he knows that I can play there and he also wants me to develop as a centre half. I think it is really good to be able to play more positions.

Celtic's Scott Brown leaves the field of play
Image: Celtic looking to recover from first-leg embarrassment in Gibraltar

"The only thing I am working on is to develop and play games and if that means I have to play centre half I will play centre half.

"I was extremely stressed and went out without warming up and I made some mistakes in the beginning which I am not proud of, but after a while I performed well and it was a big experience hearing the fans.

"It is a big honour playing for Celtic and to get man of the match was brilliant. The Lincoln game was a disappointing result for us but if we play like we did we will beat them on Wednesday and this is our only focus."

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